About Me

Like most people, I’ve got a long list of both professional and amateur interests.

Completed Game Credits

(In reverse chronological order.)

As is typical, the current project is a super-secret project with names and details protected by NDA and such.

I have enjoyed some time working on a rather popular title, Fortnite. While it was a first for many people on the team I’ve been on big-name titles before so it didn’t feel quite as impressive. More on those if you keep reading backwards in time. Mostly this was gameplay work with a bit of bug fixing thrown in. My work focused on the Save The World game mode.

Image of monsters from Fortnite Save The World
I was development lead on PinHeads Bowling, a fun little VR game. It was low budget and unfortunately we weren’t able to test on a wide range of hardware. The game ran out of funding, but was still fun to play if you had the right machine. I also helped work on a port/update for Grey Goo.

Pinheads Bowling VR Grey Goo box art
I worked for a year at MaxPlay. The company had a great concept involving collaborative editing and using hosted development and deployment, but like many companies they had bigger ideas than budget.

MaxPlay Logo

I worked on The Sims 3 store team, where I was the most prolific creator of the store’s gameplay objects. They were a wide range of items, including wishing wells, climbing walls, basketball equipment, ballet bars, hypnotizing stands, sim-gambling tables, restaurant ovens, and much more.

Sims-3

Before working on the store, I was on a different team, where I ended up doing a near-complete rewrite of the UI code, working closely with an amazing UI artist who reskinned the images. NintendoLife’s review of the game started with “What a difference half a year can make. Everything about this game improves upon its predecessor”, then later had three different paragraphs covering the UI rewrite, including “The controls take a big leap in quality from its precursor”. Jeff Eschler and I both got enormous praise for that.

ts3pets3ds

I worked on a ton of networking code for a game that everybody knows. I mean that quite literally, the brand has approximately 100% market recognition globally:

Monopoly Streets

I helped build the Littlest PetShop franchise for Nintendo DS and Wii:

LPS1 WinterLPS1 JungleLPS1 GardenLPS1 SpringLPS1 Wii
LPS2 BeachLPS2 CityLPS2 Country
I had my hand in a few of the Tiger Woods Golf series:

Tiger Woods 2007Tiger Woods 08Tiger Woods 08 wii

Non-credited and Incomplete Games

Although they never saw the public light, I also completed two marketing games while working on traffic monitoring sensors. One was similar to WaterWorks, where the players tried to build the fastest roads from place to place. Networked opponents could place traffic lights and stop signs for a speed penalty, and semi-rare sensor tiles could replace a bad road segment with a great one. Another was a  tiny frogger-style game as part of the road sensor configuration tool where you could visualize cars on a road segment as they drove by, with realistic vehicle lengths and speed based on detection.

I’ve got my own collection of hobby games and stuff I’ve done for fun and learning, but they only deserve this tiny mention on the list.

And of course, there are the commercial products that were never finished. I’ve worked on several game prototypes over the years, including prototype designs for Hasbro’s Battleship brand on multiple occasions, each time I discussed what was popular with the previous iterations.

Published Book

I have worked on a book. If you are interested in making your own hobby games I recommend it (although I’m somewhat biased).

My Book. Buy a copy.
My Book. Buy a copy.

When that was published I found out that Amazon also listed me as the author of my University thesis, which they can special order. That was neat, I didn’t think of it as a published work, just a research project.

Kite Flying

I have enjoyed kites since my childhood. There was a big field near my house that was originally going to be a shopping mall but was left undeveloped for nearly 30 years. Although it was muddy and covered with weeds, it was a moderately good place to fly kites. My parents offered small rewards for practicing piano every day, and about age 12 or so I had saved up enough practice time (about 4 months worth) to purchase a small stunt kite. I still have the kite and fly it occasionally, even though it is relatively small, about 30 years old with bad elastic, and has none of the modern features like standoffs.

At the same age I also saved up my practice money for a four-foot parafoil, which folds into a small bag and has accompanied me on most of my travels, including being in my vehicle with me for over 200,000 miles driven. Although the tail has a few rips from weeds in that old undeveloped field, it is in generally amazing shape. I toss it over to kids when they ask to fly kites with me, since parafoils are nearly indestructible as they have no rigid parts.

These days I usually fly some of my Revolution quad-line stunt kites or one of various dual-line kites. I own several so I can fly in many different wind conditions, ranging from a slight breeze to wind that blows your wide-brim hat off.  One of my children has caught the kite flying bug as well, and she’s just reaching the point where we can do stunts and formations together.

 

My Revolution B-series kites, with child and doorway for scale.

Non-Games Work

I’ve had a few jobs outside of games.

I’ve worked on meeting voting software, the stuff where participants are given a little keypad, they vote for options, and the graphs and charts showing their choices appears on screen.

I’ve worked on software used in TV broadcasting and radio broadcasting, stuff that was used on the daily news.

I’ve worked on server back-end storage both with regular SQL databases and with custom storage solutions. These ranged from systems handling thousands of web requests per seconds, to keeping data in sync with continuous ETL between local and remote servers, to sharing data around the globe with Hazelcast and similar technology.

I’ve worked on server-side code for Amazon AWS and Google Cloud, building and deploying docker containers, fighting with security groups, and trying to safely handle bumping against automatic scaling rules.

I’ve put together more web pages and written more JavaScript than I care to admit.

While I can do all those things and I’ve spent about 10 years of my career doing them, they aren’t my passions.

Other Stuff

I still play piano, my parents started me when I was six and encouraged me through my teen years even though I frequently wanted to stop. Although I’m not the best at sight reading, give me some time and I can play most songs, from contemporary stuff to the classics. Any given week I’ll play for about 5-10 hours, often being joined by my family who prefer different instruments of guitar, flute, and violin, or performing for various groups I participate in.

I’m a moderator over at gamedev.net, a good fit for my career history.

I’m involved with some art groups and regularly participate in figure drawing sessions for a few hours per month. I enjoy watercolor painting, although I usually only have time for one or two small paintings per month.

I participate in church groups and some volunteer organizations that usually consume a handful of hours every week, attend school activities, and more.

That’s more than enough personal background on me. Go read some of the other stuff I’ve written or write some comments.

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